Being intolerant to dairy (rather than being full-blown allergic or, god forbid, even anaphylactic), means that I still indulge in a piece of cake or ice-cream a couple of times a week. However, if I over-do it, then oh boy, I cop the consequences.
For example, I grew up with Milo, and to this day, the little child inside me still loves that Vitamin B goodness. I have even been known to do a Nutella on the Milo by sticking the teaspoon in the tin and eating it just like that, even risking Milo-stained teeth.
Because I have the willpower of an ant, I even resort to hiding it in the very back of the pantry so I don’t gorge on it every day. I strongly adhere to the ‘out of sight out of mind” philosophy and it usually works, until I spy a bit of green sticking out from behind the container of buckwheat flour.
Well, the other night, I caved. I felt like something sweet and there it was – that little bit of green with shiny silver lid poking out from behind the buckwheat. I had eaten a piece of cake at a friend’s house a few hours earlier so thought, what the hell, I might as well eat more dairy since I’ve stuffed it already.
I poured a bit of rice milk in my favourite mug, and opened the tin. The waft of cocoa and barley and all that low GI goodness hit me like the aroma of a good coffee, and I started piling it in.
We’re not talking about a modest, sensible scooping of the sweet, brown powder. We’re talking about a helping backed up by Milo-entitlement, you know, that feeling of being entitled to Milo just like every other dairy-consuming being on the planet.
As my mouth was watering, I was pretty sure I piled in about five heaped teaspoons, with an extra added tin-to-mouth manoeuvre.
Within five minutes, I felt ill. I was sure it was going to come back up. Instead, I lay on the couch for the next three hours groaning and clutching at my stomach, with the other half looking on with either pity or disgust. But it's only Milo, I thought to myself!
I went back to the pantry and checked out the ingredients because I was sure it hadn’t contained that much dairy and I’ve had it before on the odd ‘treat’ night and felt ok? There it was – “contains milk AND gluten".
The barley. The wheat. The double whamminess of it all!
The Milo Moral was as clear as day – just because I had it every day after school when I was younger doesn't mean my now intolerant self can scoff it with a vengeance today. Also, I shouldn't let those health messages fool me into a false justification of consumption (“low GI”, “contains six Vitamins and Minerals”, “Nourishing”, “Rich in Protein”, "Source of Energy" etc). I could also do a much better job at hiding it and stop placing it behind the buckwheat container which I confess, makes it easily visible and, if I’ve already eaten a piece of cake with cream earlier, acting out a justified dairy continuation is just not worth the stomach ache afterwards.
The Milo is now strategically placed out of sight, with a massive pack of Natural Confectionary Snakes in front. Hang on, I better go check the label.